Does physical activity at a younger age reduce the likelihood of falls in seniors? / by Cindy Sabolic.
Sabolic, Cindy Catarina
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Purpose: Falls are a significant cause of death and disability and have a serious impact to the psychological and physical health of the elderly. The purpose of this research study was to determine if physical activity reduces the likelihood of falls in seniors living in long term care facility. The main objective of the study was to examine the association between an individual’s history of physical activity throughout their pastime, to determine whether involvement in physical activity at a younger age can be a determinant of the likelihood to incur a debilitating fall at an older age. The research was conducted on seniors currently aged seventy and older who reside at the Specialty Care Mississauga Road long term care center located in Mississauga, Ontario. Methods: This study used a retrospective cohort approach to determine the association between the physical activity at younger age and incidence of falls as documented in the fall risk assessment tool. A mail-out questionnaire was used to collect information on levels of past physical activity, periods of involvement in sport, and specific lifestyle behaviors. One hundred and sixty resident family members were asked to complete the questionnaire, providing specific information based on their loved one’s history. A total of 84 questionnaires were completed and returned. Data Analysis: The data that were collected from the fall risk assessment and questionnaire were entered into standard database for subsequent statistical analysis. The information from the two data sets (i.e retrospective physical activity profile and the falls risk assessment) were merged together to evaluate the research question using correlation procedures. Results: Pearson product moment correlation coefficient scores were computed using SAS to determine the relationship between the physical activity scores and fall risk assessment scores. The results indicated that there was no correlation between the two scores, in either the total group or the separate sub-groups created for age.